ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: MEIKO KAJI KICKS SUPREME ASS

Since it’s been so long since I’ve taken a vacation, it has had the unfortunate effect of turning my life on its ass end so I will be relating two weeks of the Den of Sin to you, in one little column. However, since three of the four movies we watched feature the incomparable Meiko Kaji, it’s actually less redundant this way, if still incredibly lazy. But never mind all that, here’s how it went down:

Before leaving on our trip we had planned on an amazing “Musicians on Motorcycles” double bill featuring “Purple Rain” and “Cool As Ice”. Yes, you read that right, Prince and Vanilla Ice in one double bill. Unfortunately, “Cool As Ice” is much harder to come by than one might suspect and the only store in all of Vancouver that actually carried it had rented it out for the night we needed it. Go figure. This was the second program in as many weeks to get pooched at the last minute but we weren’t going to let it get us down. Instead we decided to go with a couple of Sinister Sam selections: “Female Convict Scorpion: Beast Stable” and “Stray Cat Rock”. This was followed when we got back by “Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion” and “Female Slave Ship”. Three of the films shown star one of our new favorites, Meiko Kaji. For those not familiar with Meiko she was the star of several popular Japanese exploitation series in the early ‘70s, namely the “Lady Snowblood” series, the “Female Convict Scorpion” series and the “Stray Cat Rock” series. The other film, “Female Slave Ship” featured one of our other favorite Japanese cult actors, Bunta Sugawara.

Last year I had the opportunity to treat some of the regular members of the Peanut Gallery to “Female Convict Scorpion: Jailhouse 41”, the second film in the series (there were four altogether in the original series followed by “New Female Convict Scorpion #701” in 1976 and a remake in the late ‘90s, neither one featuring Ms. Kaji) and I’d been waiting ever since for a chance to catch the rest of the series. Sadly my Fiancé had not been in attendance for that screening and has held it against me ever since so I was glad to be able to introduce him to the series. We had a scant 8 people to start, but we ended up finishing the film with 13 people in attendance which led to some hilarious freeze frames (one involving a prostrate woman and a golf club) and some pretty short recaps (“That chick, she escaped from prison. Now she’s kicking ass.”)

“Beast Stable” is actually the third film in the series, but continuity is not terribly important to these films so it was easy to catch everyone up. Although not the best of the series (that would be number two), it does hold the distinction of having one of the better opening sequences involving Meiko dashing onto a subway car and getting handcuffed by the police who then try to drag her out of the subway car, but the cop’s arm gets stuck in the door and she hacks it off with a dull knife. We are then treated to Meiko running through the streets of Tokyo with a disembodied arm hanging from her still handcuffed wrist. In slow motion. Suffice to say there wasn’t a person in attendance who wasn’t hooked by that alone. The film also has one of the ickier plots of the series. Now, while they always involve lots of nudity, back stabbing and bloodletting, the inclusion of consensual incest and forced abortions was a little extreme even for FCS.

Basically, FCS, on the run since the last movie, ends up getting involved with a young prostitute and her retarded brother (he was in an “accident”). The sister ends up pregnant by her brother who she sleeps with to keep him from raping random women on the street (I honestly wish I was making this up) and her pimp and the evil drag-queen/Madame she works for aren’t happy. I don’t remember much else in the way of plot intricacies but I should add that the one armed detective from the opening sequence is also after her with a Javere like determination. We nicknamed the Madame who it turns out is a woman after all (I dare you not to be confused) “Straggar the Destroyer” because of some of her Star Trek-like costume choices and hideous washed up drag-queen make-up. FCS spends the rest of the film dispensing her own brutal brand of justice in the name of wronged women everywhere (and there are a lot of them in this movie) with steely eyed coldness.

This was followed by the comparatively tame, despite what the title might suggest, “Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter”. Made three years before “Beast Stable”, “Sex Hunter” was the third film in the Stray Cat Rock series of five films although it appears to be the only one currently available in North America. Basically a J.D. movie, the film is a hip, mod ode to the early work of Seijin Suzuki. Meiko is Mako, the leader of a gang of teenage girls who also all happen to be the girlfriends of a male gang led by Baron with whom Mako has an ongoing flirtation. The trouble starts when one of the girls dumps her guy for a “half-breed” who hangs out at a coffee house. Suddenly it’s boys against girls with the girls siding with the “half-breeds” and the boys showing their true xenophobic colors. The film culminates in a bloody shoot-out on an abandoned army base.

Time for an intermission. The story continues in part two of ENTER THE DEN OF SIN: MEIKO KAJI KICKS SUPREME ASS>>>




Posted on August 25, 2004 in Features by
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